Croswell-Lexington Community Schools Public Summary of FOIA Procedures and Guidelines

It is the public policy of this State that all persons (except those persons incarcerated in state or local correctional facilities) are entitled to full and complete information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of those who represent them as public officials and public employees.

The people shall be informed so that they may fully participate in the democratic process.
Consistent with the Michigan Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Public Act 442 of 1976, the following is the Written Public Summary of Croswell-Lexington Community Schools (“CLCS”) FOIA Procedures and Guidelines relevant to the general public. 

This is only a summary of CLCS’s FOIA Procedures and Guidelines. For more details and information, copies of CLCS’s FOIA Procedures and Guidelines are available at no charge at any CLCS office and on CLCS’s website
 

​How do I Submit a FOIA Request to CLCS?

  • A request must sufficiently describe a public record so as to enable CLCS to find it. 
  • Please include the words “FOIA” or “FOIA Request” in the request to assist CLCS in providing a prompt response.
  • Requests to inspect or obtain copies of public records prepared, owned, used, possessed or retained by CLCS may be submitted in any form of writing (letter, fax, email, etc.). 
  • Written requests may be delivered to CLCS in person or by mail:
    • To the Attention of FOIA Coordinator,
    • 5407 E. Peck Road, Croswell, MI 48422.
  • Requests may be faxed to: (810) 679-1005. To ensure a prompt response, faxed requests should contain the term “FOIA” or “FOIA Request” on the first/cover page. 
  • Requests may be emailed to: FOIA@croslex.org. To ensure a prompt response, email requests should contain the term “FOIA” or “FOIA Request” in the subject line.

What kind of response can I expect to my request

  • Within 5 business days after receiving a FOIA request CLCS will issue a response. If a request is received by fax or email, the request is deemed to have been received on the following business day. CLCS will respond to your request in one of the following ways:
    • Grant the request,
    • Issue a written notice denying the request,
    • Grant the request in part and issue a written notice denying in part the request,
    • Issue a notice indicating that due to the nature of the request, CLCS needs an additional 10 business days to respond, or
    • Issue a written notice indicating that the public record requested is available at no charge on CLCS’s website
  • If the request is granted, or granted in part, CLCS will ask that payment be made for the allowable fees associated with responding to the request before the public record is made available. 
  • If the cost of processing the request is expected to exceed $50, or if you have not paid for a previously granted request, CLCS will require a deposit before processing the request.

What are CLCS’s deposit requirements

  • If CLCS has made a good faith calculation that the total fee for processing the request will exceed $50.00, CLCS will require that you provide a deposit in the amount of 50% of the total estimated fee. When CLCS requests the deposit, it will provide you a non-binding best efforts estimate of how long it will take to process the request after you have paid your deposit. If CLCS receives a request from a person who has not paid it for copies of public records made in fulfillment of a previously granted written request, CLCS will require a deposit of 100% of the estimated processing fee before it begins to search for the public record for any subsequent written request when all of the following conditions exist: 
    • The final fee for the prior written request is not more than 105% of the estimated fee;
    • The public records made available contained the information sought in the prior written request and remain in CLCS’s possession;
    • The public records were made available to the individual, subject to payment, within the best effort time frame estimated by CLCS to provide the records;
    • Ninety (90) days have passed since CLCS notified the individual in writing that the public records were available for pickup or mailing;
    • The individual is unable to show proof of prior payment to CLCS; and
    • CLCS has calculated an estimated detailed itemization that is the basis for the current written request’s increased fee deposit. 
  • CLCS will not require the 100% estimated fee deposit if any of the following apply: 
    • The person making the request is able to show proof of prior payment in full to CLCS;
    • CLCS is subsequently paid in full for all applicable prior written requests; or
    • Three hundred sixty five (365) days have passed since the person made the request for which full payment was not remitted to CLCS.

​How does CLCS calculate FOIA processing fees?

The Michigan FOIA statute permits CLCS to charge for the following costs associated with processing a request:

  • Labor costs associated with copying or duplication, which includes making paper copies, making digital copies, or transferring digital public records to non-paper physical media or through the Internet. Labor costs associated with searching for, locating and examining a requested public record, when failure to charge a fee will result in unreasonably high costs to CLCS. 
  • Labor costs associated with a review of a record to separate and delete information exempt from disclosure, when failure to charge a fee will result in unreasonably high costs to CLCS. 
  • The cost of copying or duplication, not including labor, of paper copies of public records. This may include the cost for copies of records already on the CLCS’s website if you ask CLCS to make copies. 
  • The cost of computer discs, computer tapes or other digital or similar media when the requester asks for records in non-paper physical media. This may include the cost for copies of records already on CLCS’s website if you ask CLCS to make copies. 
  • The cost to mail or send a public record to a requestor.
Labor Costs
 
  • All labor costs will be estimated and charged in 15-minute increments, with all partial time increments rounded down. If the time involved is less than 15 minutes, there will be no charge. Labor costs will be charged at the hourly wage of the lowest-paid CLCS employee capable of doing the work in the specific fee category, regardless of who actually performs work. 
  • Labor costs will also include a charge to cover or partially cover the cost of fringe benefits. CLCS may add up to 50% to the applicable labor charge amount to cover or partially cover the cost of fringe benefits, but in no case may it exceed the actual cost of fringe benefits. 
  • Overtime wages will not be included in labor costs unless agreed to by the requestor; overtime costs will not be used to calculate the fringe benefit cost. 
  • Contracted labor costs will be charged at the hourly rate not to exceed 6 times the state minimum hourly wage.
A labor cost will not be charged for the search, examination, review and the deletion and separation of exempt from nonexempt information unless failure to charge a fee would result in unreasonably high costs to CLCS. Costs are unreasonably high when they are excessive and beyond the normal or usual amount for those services compared to CLCS’s usual FOIA requests.  

Copying and Duplication
CLCS will use the most economical method for making copies of public records, including using double-sided printing, if cost-saving and available.

Non-paper Copies on Physical Media

The cost for records provided on non-paper physical media, such as computer discs, computer tapes or other digital or similar media will be at the actual and most reasonably economical cost for the non-paper media. This cost will be charged only if CLCS has the technological capability necessary to provide the public record in the requested non-paper physical media format. 

Paper Copies
 
  • Paper copies of public records made on standard letter (8 ½ x 11) or legal (8 ½ x 14) sized paper will not exceed $.10 per sheet of paper. 
  • Copies for non-standard sized sheets will paper will reflect the actual cost of reproduction. 
Mailing Costs
 
  • The cost to mail public records will use a reasonably economical and justified means. 
  • CLCS may charge for the least expensive form of postal delivery confirmation. 
  • No cost will be made for expedited shipping or insurance unless you request it.

Waiver of Fees
The cost of the search for and copying of a public record may be waived or reduced if in the sole judgment of the FOIA Coordinator a waiver or reduced fee is in the public interest because it can be considered as primarily benefitting the general public.

How do I qualify for an indigence discount on the fee?

CLCS will discount the first $20.00 of fees for a request if you submit an affidavit stating that you are:

  • Indigent and receiving specific public assistance; or 
  • If not receiving public assistance, stating facts demonstrating an inability to pay because of indigence. 

You are not eligible to receive the $20.00 discount if you:

  • Have previously received discounted copies of public records from CLCS twice during the calendar year; or 
  • Are requesting information on behalf of other persons who are offering or providing payment to you to make the request.

How may I challenge the denial of a public record or an excessive fee?

Appeal of a Denial of a Public Record
 
If you believe that all or a portion of a public record has not been disclosed or has been improperly exempted from disclosure, you may appeal to the CLCS Board by filing a written appeal of the denial with the central office.

The appeal must be in writing, specifically state the word “appeal,” and identify the reason or reasons you are seeking a reversal of the denial. 

​The CLCS Board is not considered to have received a written appeal until the first regularly scheduled CLCS Board meeting following submission of the written appeal. Within 10 business days of receiving the appeal the CLCS Board will respond in writing by:
 

  • Reversing the disclosure denial;
  • Upholding the disclosure denial; or
  • Reverse the disclosure denial in part and uphold the disclosure denial in part.

Whether or not you submitted an appeal of a denial to the CLCS Board, you may file a civil action in Circuit Court within 180 days after CLCS's final determination to deny your request. If you prevail in the civil action the court will award you reasonable attorneys’ fees, costs and disbursements. If the court determines that CLCS acted arbitrarily and capriciously in refusing to disclose or provide a public record, the court shall award you damages in the amount of $1,000.
 
Appeal of an Excess FOIA Processing Fee
 
If you believe that the fee charged by CLCS to process your FOIA request exceeds the amount permitted by state law, you must first appeal to the CLCS Board by filing a written appeal for a fee reduction.
 
The appeal must specifically state the word “appeal” and identify how the required fee exceeds the amount permitted.
 
The CLCS Board is not considered to have received a written appeal until the first regularly scheduled CLCS Board meeting following submission of the written appeal. Within 10 business days after receiving the appeal, the CLCS Board will respond in writing by:
 

  • Waiving the fee;
  • Reducing the fee and issue a written determination indicating the specific basis that supports the remaining fee;
  • Upholding the fee and issue a written determination indicating the specific basis that supports the required fee; or
  • Issuing a notice detailing the reason or reasons for extending for not more than 10 business days the period during which the CLCS Board will respond to the written appeal.

After receiving notice of the CLCS Board’s determination of the processing fee appeal, you may commence a civil action in Circuit Court for a fee reduction. If you prevail in the civil action by receiving a reduction of 50% or more of the total fee, the court may award all or appropriate amount of reasonable attorneys’ fees, costs and disbursements. If the court determines that CLCS acted arbitrarily and capriciously by charging an excessive fee, court may also award you punitive damages in the amount of $500.